What happens at a project meeting?

Project meetings offer youth opportunity to work on their skills.

This is the second article in the series that started with, “So I joined a 4-H club – now what?” All 4-H club members participate in general meetings. The leader may then ask if anyone is interested in doing certain projects. They explain projects are the areas in which members are interested in learning about, completing an item in or having an animal in that species area. The members that express interest in a project will then come together at a separate time for a project meeting.

Project meetings are an opportunity for members to develop their skills in a specific discipline or to work on a specific project. When I have young people gather around my table with their scrapbook supplies, I am having a project meeting. They are all working on developing their skills in the discipline of scrapbooking. They are learning how to layout a page, use a paper cutter and a color wheel. When I take my son and his bunny to his leader’s house, they will work on handling the rabbit, talk about rabbit nutrition, practice showmanship with the rabbit and enjoy refreshments with his friends. This is also a project meeting. The specific purpose of the youth coming together with the leader is to further develop their skills in a project area.

Project meetings are led by project leaders. Project leaders are volunteers who agree to help members with a specific area or discipline such as rabbits, foods or archery. Project leaders may agree to lead more than one area and work in cooperation with the club leader. The club or general leader is a volunteer who agrees to be responsible for the leadership of a 4-H club. They are responsible for the reporting, meeting and organization of the club.

Youth may choose to take their project to the fair in their county as an exhibitor. This is optional for 4-H members as some members may decide to not participate in a fair. Some projects are not exhibited at fair because there is nothing tangible to display. Fair allows members the opportunity to display their projects and get them judged in many cases. The projects that members can take range from livestock to non-livestock projects, they vary significantly in cost and the time commitment required. Families should think carefully about the projects they commit to so they do not get overcommitted.

Volunteers are the heart of 4-H youth programs and we encourage them to utilize the experiential learning model when working with youth to maximize learning. Experience is life’s greatest teacher and when we combine it with caring adult volunteers to support our young people through successes and disappointments, we see the heart of 4-H programs. To find out what opportunities exist in your community, contact your Michigan State University Extension county office.

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